Dept. looks toward new building

By Jennifer Quilici

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department is reaching incredible heights at the UA with the addition of its new building, which is expected to open in January 1997.

"There are no guarantees," Bill Cosart, associate dean for administration of engineering and mines, said in an interview Friday, "but we hope to have the building done in December of 1996, ready to serve students in January."

The department has been hoping for a new building for almost 10 years, but plans were delayed because of financial problems, Cosart said.

"The drawings were on my shelf for two years, and last summer we made our final bid to the state Legislature and construction began in November of 1994," he said.

The building, located on the northeast corner of North Mountain Avenue and East Speedway Boulevard, is being funded by bonds the University of Arizona sold last fall.

George McFerron of Facilities Design and Construction, the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department, and some other off-campus sources helped design this two-building structure.

The north building, which is seven stories high, and the four-story south building will be joined together on the third floor by bridges.

"There will be a courtyard between the two buildings that will show off the eye-catching bridges," Cosart said. "There will be posts and cables under the bridges that are supporting them."

The south building will contain an acoustically sound auditorium for 240 people and a 100-person lecture hall in addition to more classrooms. There also will be another CCIT computer lab on the fourth floor of this building.

The north building will consist of offices for teaching assistants, graduate students and the department heads, and computer labs with special software for engineering students.

"The third floor will consist of a new office called Student Interface," Cosart said. "This will make it more inviting for students to receive information about their department."

Laboratories will be held in the north building, where there is more space.

The courtyard will consist of study tables and a food service area.

The administration agreed to the new plans because of the limited size and condition of the old engineering building, located on the southwest corner of Mountain and East Second Street, Cosart said.

"It takes one walk through the old building to see our need to expand and renovate," Cosart said. "Chairs and chalkboards are falling apart and teaching space is cramped."

The laboratory building has been around since 1917, while the main engineering building has been around since 1947.

The growing department now has 30 faculty members, about 700 undergraduate students, and about 200 graduate students.

The old buildings occupied 34,000 square feet, while the new buildings will expand to an estimated 90,000 square feet.

The new building will help the future of engineering students, Cosart said, adding that "the future of the UA puts an emphasis on hands-on practical research in addition to theory learned from textbooks; our students can learn both here."

Students and faculty can see a model of the new building on the second floor of the Engineering Building.

Read Next Article